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Edwards and Snow remind us that cancer is an equal opportunity terrorist

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Message Mary MacElveen
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With the Edwards decision to stay in the presidential race despite Elizabeth Edwards recurrence of cancer, one must praise both John and his wife for this selfless act since it has been reported by, “Edwards' likelihood of survival for five more years dropped from perhaps more than 85 percent to about 20 percent. And her illness went from one that might have been cured to one that might be, at best, controlled.” 

What many do look for in their president is one that is able to handle not only one crisis, but a series of crises be they personal or as part of their job.  In their decision to forge on, both the Edwards are saying to all of us, we can handle this and are up to this immense challenge. In my eyes that is courage plain and simple and putting country before self.  That is true patriotism. 

It has now been reported where the White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow has had a similar recurrence of cancer in which, his colon cancer had spread to his liver. While Dana Perino who is the White House spokeswoman filling in for Tony Snow stated, that the tumors were on the surface of the liver and not inside it, he too must be thinking of his own mortality as Elizabeth Edwards is.  Colon cancer kills 55,000 Americans each year.  That far surpasses the lives taken on September 11th, 2001. Who is avenging those whose lives are taken by cancer? 

Cancer does not care whether or not you are, Republican, Democrat, or a member of any other party or none at all.  That is the best lesson for all Americans to take away from hearing of their stories.  It is an equal opportunity killer and terrorist. I suspect that both Mrs. Edwards and Mr. Snow while putting on a brave face not only for their families, but the public are feeling some terror inside at this moment. Given the prognosis as reported by Slate, Mrs. Edwards must be thinking of her younger children. 

In both cases, my prayers and thoughts are with them and their families. Cancer is worse than Osama bin Laden or any other al Qaeda operative.  The affects by those terrorists will kill their innocent victims in seconds while cancer will kill in some cases over a longer period of time.  It will seek out the young and the old, the poor and the rich and no Patriot Act or Military Commissions Act of 2006 will stop it. What will stop it is medical research and that takes funding. 

Those that have cancer and are going through various treatments suffer hair loss, vomit quite frequently and become weak and debilitated.  These victims cry out in pain and wonder when someone is going to send in the medical forces to end their terror. 

In both the Edwards and Snow cases it brings up a topic that I do think that all Americans can get behind.  Right now, we have the war on terror, so it begs the question; why not a war on cancer or similar diseases that takes the lives of countless Americans each year? Michael J. Fox brought to the forefront during the midterm elections stem cell research as he campaigned for Senator Claire McCaskill since he suffers from Parkinson’s disease another disease that does not discriminate.  It too will rob people of their very dignity and do so over a long period of time.  Yet, these victims suffer in silence.  It is only through the brave voices of people like Michael J. Fox do we hear their cries. 

Presently there are roughly 47 million Americans who do not have insurance or are under-insured.  What happens to them should they come down with any of these diseases?  Are they able to afford the treatments that both Mrs. Edwards and Mr. Snow will be receiving?  Will they get the top-notch doctors as well?  Most likely there are many who are facing this, yet you do not hear their stories. 

Recently, it was reported by Newsday that millions of dollars in cuts will occur to Long Island hospitals by the state and federal government.  Will that affect the care of cancer patients especially if they do not have insurance?  These cuts will result in the loss of patient care.  I do suspect that is occurring across this country.

In a USA Today column that ran on July 11th, 2006 you will be alarmed as one reads, “Barbara Brenner of Breast Cancer Action says she is especially troubled by the cost of Avastin, a newer drug used to treat colorectal cancer that now sells for about $50,000 a year. That price could jump to $100,000 if Avastin is approved to treat breast and lung cancers, because those tumors are treated with higher doses of the medication.” If you have no health insurance; just what do you do when confronted with the high price of fighting the cancer you have especially if it is the same one Tony Snow came down with originally? 

Try putting yourself in the shoes of this uninsured patient or under-insured patient.  First, you are terrorized as your doctor delivers the grave news to you and second tells you of the cost of these drugs that will combat it.  I cannot even fathom that terror.  Can you?  Can any of us who are lucky and blessed in this country to have health insurance?  I do suspect that millions of Americans are but a paycheck away from being un-employed and with that goes their health insurance.

Now imagine the outrage that I suspect many who are faced with this grave scenario feel as the House and the Senate is prepared to fund this war in Iraq and Afghanistan to the tune of $120 billion dollars.  Included in that bill sets a time line for troop withdrawal next year.  It is a certainty that President Bush will veto it as the Senate passed it with this language included. Think of how these moneys can best be used to treat the cancers of these patients.  How about we just bring the troops home now and call it a day? 

I want you all to take a look at how much it is costing the U.S. taxpayer to fund the war only in Iraq.  As of this moment, the current cost is $412 billion and counting as each second goes by.  It tells how that money could be used within your community such as funding education, affordable housing and other items.  Well, just think of the uninsured cancer patients.

Also, why not cut the military budget to help find cures for cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other debilitating diseases?  Is paying Halliburton, Raytheon and the other defense contractors more important than people’s lives? In the world of realty and government, yes it is.  Those that run these companies along with their shareholders make money hand over fist as those without health insurance suffer.

In the beginning of his first term in office President Bush became the isolationist president by withdrawing from the Kyoto treaty and the ABM treaty.  Many were enraged.  How about we become an isolationist country by spending our tax dollars here at home to give health care to one and all?  I think that Americans are growing increasingly tired of being the world’s beat cop and we want our troops’ home.  I would suspect that all Americans would love it if their government were to fund health care as it is doing this war.  But, delivering health care for all Americans is a war worth waging as we target these diseases.

Maybe if we were not interfering in another country’s business, but taking care of those less fortunate who suffer from these diseases, it can rip the rug out from underneath al Qaeda.  What would their platform be?  We can then use what moneys we are spending to fight this war on terror and to fight this medical terror.  These cancer patients right now are living with terrorist cells in their bodies and we know where they are.  The various chemo drugs, radiation treatments and operations are medicine’s scud missiles.  As a patient hears that his or her cancer is in remission that is truly a victory worth celebrating.

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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